Cleveland police fired a sergeant and meted out demotions and suspensions Tuesday for a car chase last year that involved five dozen cruisers, 137 rounds of ammunition fired by 13 officers, and the death of two people who, it turned out, were probably unarmed.Wow! That sounds .... well, actually it sounds terribly familiar.
A captain and lieutenant were demoted, and nine sergeants got suspensions ranging from one day to 30 days. They and the fired sergeant will appeal their punishment, according to Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 8, which represents police supervisors.
Dozens of cruisers became involved in the chase without permission from superiors and with little direction, according to a state report released earlier in the year. The episode damaged the department's relationship with residents and must be repaired, Chief Michael McGrath said at a news conference Tuesday.
But first, more info on THIS story:
... 13 officers who fired their weapons as the chase ended in a blocked-off school parking lot in East Cleveland face a county grand jury investigating possible criminal wrongdoing.
The chase began around 10:30 p.m. when an officer thought he heard a gunshot from a car speeding by the police and courts complex in downtown Cleveland. A parking lot attendant thought it might have been a car backfire, a theory endorsed by the driver's family.
The officer jumped into his patrol car, made a U-turn and radioed for help.
The chase went through crowded residential neighborhoods, then reversed course, headed east onto busy Interstate 90 and through parts of Cleveland, and eventually into East Cleveland.
Then the gunfire erupted, 137 rounds. Driver Timothy Russell, 43, was shot 23 times and passenger Malissa Williams, 30, was shot 24 times.
The union has said the shootings were justified because the driver tried to ram an officer. No weapon or shell casings were found in the fleeing car.
Of the 276 officers on duty that evening, 104 were involved in some way in the chase. Sixty police cars were involved.